Autoimmune Disease (Part I)


Do you know there is an association called American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)  and on its website it has isolated 140 known Autoimmune conditions.  

The statistics as of June 2012 calculate the number of sufferers in the US alone to be 50 million ( 1 in 5 people or 20% of the population and it appears that more women suffer from it, with estimates of 30 million women).

However, these figures come from AARDA which identify many rare forms of this condition.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) puts the figure between 14.7-23.5 million.

According to the Autoimmune registry the first estimate was 9 million based on 24 identified AD variants.  

In 2015 a study was published ‘The World Incidence and Prevalence of Autoimmune Diseases is increasing’ asking questions why?:

‘Comparing the disease categories, why are rheumatic disease surges higher than the neurological ones? Is it the infectious or stress loads? The intestinal dysbiosis allocated to specific diseases? Driving openers of the intestinal tight-junctions? Or is it the increased public/professional awareness or the improved diagnosis? A vast list of questions and so few answers’

They also identified the following AD incidences in the study:

Multiple sclerosis (MS), Type 1 diabetes (IDDM), inflammatory bowel diseases (mainly Crohn’s disease) (IBD), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), primary biliary cirrhosis, myasthenia gravis (MS), autoimmune thyroiditis (AT), hepatitis and rheumatic diseases (RA), bullous pemphigoid, and celiac disease (CD), and they also found a surge in these conditions occurred in Canada, Israel and the Netherlands, and also stated that suspected drivers of increased AD that has manifested over the last 30 years is Infections, Ecology and Nutrition.

What we know..

Or should I say what the conventional medical world knows

The National Institute of environmental health sciences (NIEHS, your environment, your health) state that the immune system can produce autoantibodies that begin to attack healthy cells, tissues and organs, and more than 80 ADs have been identified and state :

‘The causes of autoimmune diseases remain largely unknown. There is growing consensus that autoimmune diseases likely result from interactions between genetic and environmental factors’.

Their encouraging statement says that they support research to try and understand how these factors work  together compromising our own defense system.

In fact AARDA have identified an AD variant that is called ‘Evans syndrome’ where the immune system starts to attack itself by destroying red and white blood cells.  

The NIEHS go on to say that they hope to find clues that will lead to treatments and cures, or ways to prevent the development of these diseases.

Some variants are more common in caucasians and others more common in African Americans and Hispanics.

 In a moment of understanding they state :

‘Some autoimmune diseases are life-threatening, and most are Human Immune System debilitating and require a lifetime of treatment. There are treatments available to reduce the symptoms and effects from many autoimmune diseases, but cures have yet to be discovered. Since most autoimmune diseases are rare, patients can often spend years seeking a proper diagnosis’.

An encouraging note the NIEHS state that :

‘Unraveling the connections between genetic predisposition and environmental triggers is a major focus for NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program’

And have found:

‘An NIEHS study found associations between ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and the development of an autoimmune muscle disease, myositis, particularly in women, and Low birth weight and low socioeconomic factors in childhood were associated with the later development of rheumatoid arthritis as an adult’. A 2012 study, which looked at the most common autoantibodies, antinuclear antibodies, found that they are most prevalent among women. This research suggests that the hormones estrogen and progesterone might be affecting the immune system’.

Some Sense and Sensibility on behalf of the NIEHS

Since, as I stated before how crucial Vitamin D3 is from sunlight exposure in which every cell is dependent on its absorption I am not sure how they found an association of AD and UV radiation.

Furthermore what is the science behind associating low socioeconomic factors in childhood and adult rheumatoid arthritis.  

Cortisol produced by the adrenals definitely affects the immune system, because it is designed to regulate an inflammatory response, and it is known that estrogen have a pro-inflammatory effect on neutrophils, while progesterone has the opposite effect; it is pro-inflammatory.

Both these hormones are produced by the ovaries except when the ovaries go into retirement mode ( menopause ) and the adrenal is the backup organ that produce them.

It is indeed feasible that fatigued adrenals could have an affect on the immune system and possibly trigger an autoimmune condition in women specifically.

They are getting ‘warmer’ in figuring out the cause especially when they have identified  environmental pollutants that can infect the body, by acknowledging :

‘Eating gluten, present in wheat and some other grains, contributes to the development of celiac disease, a disorder that affects the small intestine and commonly causes chronic diarrhea and fatigue.  Taking certain supplements containing L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid used as a dietary supplement, contributes to development of eosinophilia myalgia syndrome, an incurable and sometimes fatal condition involving severe muscle pain’

Some Examples of Autoimmune Disease

Some of these are probably known to you such as Celiac disease which is an intolerance to the wheat protein gluten causing gastrointestinal dysfunction, chronic diarrhoea, abdominal distention and malabsorption, which of course the food industry has latched on to unleashing a line of gluten free products that you can munch on.  

Crohn’s disease which affects the bowel, and it is a type of irritable bowel disease (IBD) that can affect anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus giving rise to symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fever, and weight loss as well as in some cases anemia, skin rash, arthritis, eye inflammation and fatigue.  Wikipedia state that:

‘While the cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, it is believed to be due to a combination of environmental, immune, and bacterial factors in genetically susceptible individuals’

They even suggest medications like Corticosteroid, and Adrenal steroid hormone.

The reason for the adrenal steroid, it acts as an immunosuppressant mimicking what the adrenals do, because Cortisol ( which is an anti-inflammatory) acts as a moderator to an inflammatory response ignited by the immune system.  

I am guessing that the reason for prescribing this adrenal steroid is that the physician assumes your adrenals are fatigued because they are not doing their job.  I am sorry but this course of treatment may not be the best idea, since you are assuming there is a dysfunction in the adrenal gland which is probably not the case, and if you bypass the adrenal gland using a synthetic adrenal hormone you will weaken the adrenals.  

Sometimes prescribed use of these steroids are temporary and are followed up by prescribing Methotrexate or Thiopurine which are antimetabolite drugs that interfere with cellular replication by inserting themselves in DNA and the cell dies.

Do you know why these drugs are prescribed ?, because when the steroid is stopped, the patient can suffer withdrawal so Methotrexate or Thiopurine are used to suppress the immune system.

I invite you to visit Wikipedia Crohn’s disease and read the house of horrors described there. No wonder people live in fear of their bodies shaking in the corner with their doctor hoping the dread won’t pass the screen door…lol.

It is laughable and downright sad because I and many others know the major causes of AD and how it can be cured, but let’s read on.

Some known autoimmune conditions

Some known AD’s include;

Primary adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease), 

Hair loss ( Alopecia Areata),

Arthritis in the spine (Ankylosing Spondylitis),

Blood vessel malfunction in the kidney ( Anti-GBM/anti-TBM nephritis),

ESwelling of the skin epidermis (Angioedema),  

A receptor in the autonomic ganglia is damaged causing autonomic nervous system dysfunction ( Autoimmune Autonomic Ganglionopathy (AAG) or Dysautonomia).  

Healthy nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system are attacked by the immune system which eventually can cause paralysis (Guillain Barre syndrome or Axonal & neuronal neuropathy),

The myelin insulation on nerve fibres become damaged affecting the brain and spinal cord ( Multiple sclerosis and a variant called Balo disease ),

Intolerance to wheat protein Gluten ( Celiac disease ),

A virus that affects the heart muscle ( Coxsackie myocarditis),

Widespread pain ( Fibromyalgia),

Thyroid destruction ( Hashimoto’s thyroiditis),

Excessive hormone production ( Graves disease),

Low white blood cell count ( Neutropenia),

Skin rash & lesions (Psoriasis),

Affecting joints ( Rheumatoid arthritis),

Dryness in the mouth and eyes ( Sjogren’s syndrome),

Ulcers in the rectum and colon ( Ulcerative Colitis),

Large intestine dysfunction causing diarrhoea, constipation ( Irritable Bowel syndrome) and others.

The full list is shown on the AARDA website :


In this first part I  introduced Autoimmune disease and some of the types that are described by the Autoimmune Association and with 23 million or even 50 million (depending on where you read the estimates) people suffering from some type of AD is ( or has) reaching epidemic proportions.  

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada the prevalence of MS sufferers in Canada is the highest in the world accounting for 1 in 340 ( approx 106,000 people).  

In the next part we will look at the neonate gut and breast milk, gut flora balance, the purpose of the gut, and its symbiotic relationship with our host cells.

You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.  

-Movie quote Patch Adams 1998


  1. The World Incidence & Prevalence of Autoimmune Disease is increasing International Journal of Celiac disease A.Lerner, P.Jeremias, T.Matthias 2015
  2. List of Autoimmune Diseases AARDA ( American Autoimmune)
  3. Estimates of prevalence for autoimmune disease Autoimmune Registry
  4. Autoimmune Diseases National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  5. What is MS ? Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
  6. Movie quote Patch Adams 1998  IMDB

Author : Eric Malouin